Poetic interaction with visual material is only one aspect of experimental writing that the students of ENGL 111 explore. This “‘poetry immersion’ workshop” allows students to communicate with other media, and with “innovative approaches to composition and form,” including dismantling and restructuring relationships between language and meaning. What this does, as one student, Liza, suggests, is “get you thinking outside the normal parameters we find ourselves setting for literary creation.” The students of ENGL 111 resist traditional usages of words, sounds, syntax, and assumptions of what they mean, and experiment with techniques that subvert or comment on these conventions (take a look, for example, at 111’s “homophonic translation” exercise).
Connie’s poem in response to Pope.L’s work embodies this idea with lines like “creamsicle dreams curdle crepuscule-- white paint DRIP/WEEP deconstruct it, lower, case it A aa aaa a aa avenerable-like something.” We see here unconventional juxtapositions, syntax, and sound to show that our assumptions about poetic creation of meaning (such as the assumption that lower and case should not separated by a comma because, in this context, they should create an idea together) are not givens. Simply put, there are more ways to look at and use the English language than those taught in grade school.
In academic circles, a literary description of, or response to, a work of art is called “ekphrastic” writing, a Greek term almost directly translated as “speaking out.” The ekphrases of ENGL 111 lived up to this, as the students all read their poems aloud, thus adding performance and sound as routes through which they could experiment with form and meaning. Furthermore, the students used the first floor of ICA as an acoustic laboratory of sorts, playing with the ways in which their voices could interact with the gallery walls and sounds from Ruffnecks’ short films. Liza paced her poem to perfectly flow with her chosen art piece, Kahlil Joseph’s short film Until the Quiet Comes, creating the sensation that her poem was not only responding to the film, but collaborating with it to create a new artwork altogether.